As the sleeker and hunkier version of Superman in ABC’s “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” Dean Cain was just about everything most American males were not: Charming, handsome, muscly. What you might not know is that Cain was also a Big Man on Campus with aspirations to play pro football. We look back on Cain’s football career at Princeton.
Cain was a star athlete at Santa Monica High School in the early ’80s, playing baseball and football. Not surprisingly, this being Santa Monica, Cain’s baseball teammates were Chad and Rob Lowe and Charlie Sheen (why was that Disney sports movie never made?) Following his graduation in 1984, Cain got several scholarship offers but decided to attend Princeton.
In college, Cain essentially lived the life every athlete wants to live. First, he was a really good athlete. In addition to playing football, he played on the volleyball team where where he was team captain his senior year in 1988. His junior season, Cain set the FCS record for most interceptions in a season (12) – a record that stood until 2002.
Among his college friends was the team’s starting quarterback, Jason Garrett, who is now the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive coordinator. Another teammate was Cleveland Indians GM Mark Shapiro. Cain’s girlfriend? Brooke Shields. Yeah, that Brooke Shields. Cain was also involved in campus life, joining the Zeta Psi fraternity and the Cap & Gown Eating Club, which we’re told super exclusive (oh, Princeton and their crazy eating clubs). Not that Cain needed anymore reasons to be better than your average college student.
If his life remained a Hollywood movie, Cain would’ve signed with an NFL team, worked his way into the lineup through a cleverly edited montage and then made a game-sealing interception just before the screen faded to black. But his football career ended much less glamorously. After he graduated in 1988, he signed as a free agent with the Buffalo Bills, but three days before his first preseason game, he suffered a knee injury that ended his career. He never even wore a game uniform.
Fortunately for Cain, his backup plan involved remaining in Hollywood, where he grew up. He eventually caught his first big break in 1993 playing Superman in ABC’s “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.” Despite his career-ending injury, Cain still attained fame working on Sundays.